tv U.S. House of Representatives CSPAN April 21, 2011 10:00am-1:00pm EDT
that is very important, and upper income people will not like it, because they are the ones that get the most dividend and capital gains. that is another way of saying tax stocks. host: you have been around this town for a very long time. cbo, a founding director, omb director, served on the fed among other positions. is there a political will up there on capitol hill to do some of the things that your commission has proposed? guest: up until now there has not been, but we are in a very different situation. we are facing an economic disaster, and i believe republicans and democrats are beginning to realize this, and to realize they have to work together to solve it. there is nothing like a crisis to focus the mind. we are really facing a apiary serious problem if we do not get
the debt under control. -- we are really facing a serious problem if we do not get the debt under control. people around the world will not keep lending us money at low interest rates, so we'll be in trouble if we do not fix this. host: alex rivlin was our guest. -- alice rivlin was our guest. on monday we looked at discretionary spending. tuesday we looked at medicare and medicaid spending. guest today defense and security spending. today we look at the tax overhaul provisions. tomorrow we will talk about social security issues. thank you for being on " washington journal." over at the center for american progress a panel is just about to start.
the occupational safety and health administration is turning 40 this year, and this is a conversation about the agency's past and its future. the assistant secretary of labor, david michaels, will be there. as well as the center for american progress, former chief of staff to bill clinton. some other folks are there as well. this panel will be starting in just a minute. as always, we will be back at 7:00 tomorrow. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011]
>> we are live from the center of american progress this morning. april is the anniversary date, the 43 anniversary of the occupational safety and health administration. assistant labor secretary, david michaels along with representatives from labor unions and business leaders will lead a discussion on the agency's beginnings, changes made to reduce work-related injuries and challenges that remain ahead. the occupational safety and
health administration act was signed into law by president nixon back in 19 -- back in the 1970's. this is from the center of american progress here on c- span. >> good morning. i am john podesta, the president of the center for american progress and we are happy to celebrate this event, hosting the 40th anniversary of the occupational safety and health administration. one month ago, we mourned the 129 men and women who died in the fire at the triangle shirtwaist factory. it was a tenement factor with no
alarms, no sprinklers, a flimsy fire escape and a lot to escape door. -- and a lot to escape corporate it was the fire that changed america. it was in new york and then across the country. we should also remember that it took nearly 60 years before comprehensive occupational safety and health legislation that created osha became law of the land. in the immediate years before the occupational safety and health act was signed into law, 14,000 workers die each year and millions more were disabled or harmed for workplace accidents or exposure to dangerous chemicals. ever since opening its doors, osha has worked to ensure that all americans can go to work without fearing for their work, their safety, or their lives for the mission is never complete but it is being fulfilled. that is thanks in large part to the ocean efforts, workplace
fatalities in sickness rates are down 65% over the last 40 years and under the leadership of david michaels, the agency is pursuing its mission with renewed energy and renewed focus. we can rattle off statistics about the difference osha has made but what brings it home are the personal stories from the front lines. let me give special thanks to kathy stoddard part traveling here today to share her story. she works as a nurse in pittsburgh and mike worked at a pipe fitter in topeka, kansas. they have witnessed tragic death because of working conditions and they have seen dramatic improvements because of actions taken by -- taken by osha. in 1983, 10,000 health care workers contract hepatitis-b for often from accidental contact with contaminated needles. that number began to fall as of
investigated the problem and issued industry guidance. after the agency adopted a new regulation in 1991, the numbers of workers infected plunged to fewer than 400 by the end of the decade. osha has a long history of protecting manufacturing workers. one of the first standards aimed to protect iron and steel workers. since that standard was issued in 1976, the risk of lung cancer among these workers has declined by over 300%. democrats and republicans alike should celebrate the of this success -- the success of osha. the legislation was passed by a democratic congress and signed into law by president nixon. we should all agree that fewer workers dying or suffering injuries on the job is good for our economy, good for our families, and good for business.
congress and the ministration today are wrestling over the federal budget and how to deal with the deficit. we should make sure that osha does not become a bargaining chip in that debate. to be sure, we must reduce our long-term deficits and stabilize our debt picture. the osha 2010 budget was only $559 million. that was less than 0.2% of the federal budget and more than $82 billion less than the annual cost of the bush tax cuts for the wealthy. we cannot balance the budget on the backs of americans working men and women. we could not a wide to and we shouldn't. that is something that i think we all have to in sure doesn't happen. already, osha is doing more with less. during the ford administration, 2400 osha's civil servants protected workers at 4 million
work says. by 2007, the american work force had more than doubled to 132 million workers at over 9 million worksite. osha staff had shrunk to 2200. i agree with the obama administration and thesolis that instead of cutting the osha budget, we should invest more in our safety of the work force. we will end up with greater productivity, growth in the economy, and higher wages. the center for american progress has released a detailed plan for bringing down a lot term -- the long-term deficits. we invest in priorities that are essential for economic growth and the american competitiveness including science, education, infrastructure, and the american worker. safe and healthy workers boost american competitiveness and there should be no debate about the need to revitalize a share after budget cuts in the last decade.
an effective osha can be a money-saver. every year, 6 million workers suffered non-fatal workplace injuries at a cost of more than $125 billion. fewer injuries and your illnesses mean lower medical and disability expenses for government and business as well as more productive workers. smart companies like johnson and johnson which is represented here today understand this and have worked closely with osha to improve health and safety. david michaels, the assistant secretary of labor for osha, smart companies have a willing and able partner under his leadership. osha is developing a focused approach to prevent workplace illnesses and injuries and modernizing operations for better use of information technologies and boosting efforts in enforcement and compliance for business and completing a long awaited common-sense standards to
protect workers. before his confirmation in december, 2009, davis served as a professor of occupational health at the george washington university school of public health where he was a nationally recognized epidemiologist at leader in promoting scientific integrity in the development of regulation. previously, he served 1998-2001 as assistant secretary of energy for environmental safety and energy help. he was the chief architect of an historic initiative which we worked together on to compensate nuclear weapons workers who suffered from exposure to radiation. david is the author of numerous studies and publications and examining workplace health and safety issues, scientific integrity, and regulatory policy. the center for american progress was pleased to host an event for david two years ago for the release of his book ,"doubt is
their product." we are glad he is back. after he speaks, we will have a panel discussion. [applause] >> good morning and thank you for that warm introduction. 40 years ago, the united states, -- congress and richard nixon created a dedicated to a series of radical propositions. \ that a all workers deserve a safe workplace and that ellise'' and fatalities are not just acts of god that they are preventable. the workers should not have to choose between their lives and their jobs. president nixon called the act one of the most important pieces of legislation ever passed by the congress of the united states. dr. morton corn, appointed by president ford, described osha
as the instrument of a revolutionary bloc, a new right in the bill of rights, the right to a safe and healthy workplace. it is hard to believe that before osha workers of america did not have the basic human rights to a safe workplace. passing the osha law was historic. 60 years after the triangle shirtwaist fire, the federal government stepped in because state and local government systems has succeeded in eliminating the carnage in that era. before osha, when the worker was killed on the job, perhaps it was an investigation. perhaps there was not. there was no legal compulsion to fix the problem so that another worker would not face the same risk the next day. when a worker died of an occupational disease, many years after exposure, it was one of those unfortunate things that workers and their families had to live with. workers did not even have the right to know the names or the properties of the chemicals with
which they worked. that pre-of reality is captured by the phrase "occupational hazard." this nation has made great progress since then. worker deaths in america are down from 14,000 per year in 19724400. reported injuries are down as well. it is down to less than four in 2009. so this decline was due to the economic shift from manufacturing to service but clearly, much of our progress is due to tougher government standards and greater awareness of workplace state -- safety and health care standards brought about by osha. despite this progress, there is much work to be done. this month marks the first anniversary of the death of 11 workers on the deep water rising oil platform.
the seven killed at the refinery and the 29 killed of the upper mine in west virginia, all of these, only a few years after other mineworker debts, 14 killed at the imperial sugar refinery in georgia and at the bp refinery in texas. these are the few workplace tragedies that have been chronicled in national headlines but they don't tell the whole story. every day in this country, an average of 12 workers are killed on the job. if a deepwater horizon or sego- like disaster was on the evening news every evening, there would be public outcry. these debts usually happen one of the time in different towns large and small across america. they rarely make headlines. they are not noted and they don't drive change. even less visible of more than 3 million workers who suffer
various job-related injuries every year and the tens of thousands more who developed serious job-related illnesses. these are illnesses which can quickly through a family out of the middle class. the walls of the osha conference room are lined with workers who have lost their lives. they want to ensure that these tragedies will not be visited on other families. they understand that we understand what is most important, that these deaths and injuries are preventable. they are preventable by basic safety precautions like providing a safety harness to catch workers when the fall of their group. you can shore up the trash to make sure it does not collapse regarding a machine so it does not cut off a worker's hand. in the late 1980's, osha enacted the standard to protect workers in handling exposure to dust explosions. green explosions have declined
42% and injuries dropped 70%. the standard drove down rates a brown lung disease in textile workers. since we began, worker exposure to asbestos have been dramatically reduced. in the last decade, workers have been shielded from blood borne passages. i never cease to be surprised at how 40 years after this law was passed, many americans still don't know what osha does. a recent study of low-wage workers in the chicago area found that one in five had suffered an injury or illness on the job. almost 1/3 never receive proper training and half the workers surveyed had never heard of ocean. a policy maker ast last week why osha does not have a free service to give small businesses before they are cited.
we provided free assistance to 30,000 businesses last year. osha does not kill jobs. it's tough jobs and killing workers. despite this evidence and despite the progress we have made, we are engaged in a great debate over worker protections and benefits and cost of regulation and the taxpayer dollars that this society is willing to invest to ensure that our nation of workers will be able to come home safely after a hard day of work. our challenge every day is how to make this 40-year-old law work effectively in today's economy. in the past four years, the face of war in america has changed dramatically. industrial work and hazards are still with us but we face a growing number of hazards and the service sector. we struggle to make sure these are recognized while trying to improve the tools we have to address conditions in high hazard industries and change the behavior of those employers who still in danger workers. it is not easy.
osha standards have saved countless lives over the last decades of the rulemaking process becomes slower. old hazards remain inadequately addressed and some of our chemical standards are truly antiquated. our recognition of new or problems like ergonomic hazards, infectious diseases, and work place violence grows. osha fines do not have much impact on businesses. our state partners have about 2200 inspectors to address hazards of 8 million american workplaces. too many workers remain in the dark still without the legal right to safe workplaces. the creators of the osha law and attempted -- attempted to show that workers have the power but it is all that week. far too many workers don't know about the hazards they face in the legal rights they have.
far too many of those who do understand these problems do not deal -- do not feel safe raising these issues in the workplace. osha cannot face these challenges alone. we work with representatives of business and academics and community and faith based groups to help us find new ways to better protect workers. i am very excited about some of the new approach is we're developing. osha is embarking on a fundamental new way to address safety and health: illness and prevention. it is a system that processes where you can identify as its and the helpless and find a way to fix them before workers are hurt. this is new because it is new for a ship. it is not really new at all. osha issued its up -- health and safety program over 20 years ago. the standard we will be proposing is based on the long and successful experience of 15 states with similar requirements
including california, washington, and minnesota. health and safety programs have been the core requirements of the voluntary protection program and a recognized companies that sell in protecting their employees. in celebrating this anniversary, i am honored that we are joined by some of the nation's leading experts and workplace safety and health along with two workers who were in -- on the front lines. i want to take this moment to remind everyone that april 28 is worker memorial day. this is a day dedicated to the memory of workers lost their lives on the job. next week, the department of labor will establish a long overdue memorial to these workers. they will plant a tree on the grounds of the frances perkins building. it will be permanent reminder of the workers we have lost and will serve as a call to action that we must commit ourselves to address the many challenges facing us today to rededicate
ourselves to the original promise of the occupational safety and health act to ensure that every worker in the united states comes home safely to their family after a day's work. the spirit of those who died and those who live to fight for better conditions occur just to meet these challenges and achieve the goal that all americans strive for, health care workers, safer places, and a healthier america. thank you very much. [applause] >> we will now transition to our first panel discussion. watch your step. david and john did a great job of setting the context. i will introduce a cathy and mike and get started with some questions. after about 20 minutes, we will open it up to the audience for
questions. cathy stoddard has worked in acute nursing since 1979 and is currently a staff nurse at allegheny general hospital in pittsburgh, pennsylvania. she serves of the executive board of reunion ,seiu, pennsylvania. she is chair of the maris alliance of seiu health care policy. they represent more than 1 million health care workers across the united states including 20,000 in pennsylvania. wiebel -- mike wiebel worked as a pipefitter and has served in various held positions including his current position as the safety and health coordinator for the united steelworkers of goodyear. previously spent 14 years as -- and a good year as a first responders medical officer in
emergency medical technician, capt. and safety officer. he also has conducted numerous transfers several members on osha standards and workplace health and safety. cathy, let's start with you. many people probably don't think of health care workers when they think of osha. you do face dangers of your job. maybe you can talk a little about some of the dangers that health-care workers face and your personal experiences and how osha has helped make things better over the years. >> every day, health care workers walked into a disease- infected workplace. they do it on christmas and the holiday spirit is a scary place to go to work and a very exciting and rewarding place to go to work. in my career since 1979, things have changed so much of the workplace as far as safety. early in my career, a nurse was inadvertently stuck with a needle and contracted hepatitis.
she converted that year later died from complications of hepatitis. 17,000 of my colleagues in the 1980's died or contracted hepatitis in that time before blood borne pathogens. since osha has instituted safety regulations for blood borne pathogens, that has fallen to nearly 97% of the health care workers. we have training and education and the department made it so that employers were offering vaccinations and health care workers did not have to worry about hepatitis. changes have been dramatic. i go to work today and not my colleagues and up with hepatitis from inadvertent exposure to blood and body fluids. >>mike, you experienced a
workplace tragedy. maybe you can tell us what got you interested in worker health and safety and describe some of the changes you have seen because of the osha action. >> i hired on to good year at 25 years of age as a pipefitter. i work with a gentle man -- i worked with a gentle man and we had tolls and went out to fix machinery. we heard the alarm system go off and the plants. if it is in our area, we have to respond. about two weeks after i was tired, that alarm went off and went to this area. we found the first responders, on the machine pulling this man out of the machine that was being crushed by the part of a machine. they pulled him out and were doing cpr. i had no idea what to do at 25 years old i stood back to look
at what was going on. it was tragedy to know this guy was killed on the machine. later on i can to find out that these were newly designed machines and they did -- they were not completely guarded according to the osha standard of machine guarding. we fight that same battle every day like with machine guarding and other things. i am third generation with goodyear. my father is active in the union as well. my father used to build a tires and was a heavy smoker, about 2-3 packs a day. he is a live body does not smoke anymore. he had a letter in his pocket. instead of going out and buying lighter fluid you put it, he would take a benzene and put it
in the lighter and use it to light the cigarette. he carry thatzippo lighter in his pocket and he developed a tumor based on that. of chicken that with the benzene law and it was removed from the general industry. -- osha came out with the benzene lot and it was removed from the general industry. we have more room to go with these kind of loss. >> one of the other things that has been so important in workplace safety for health care workers is having safer needles. not having a needle for certain things as change many things. in a bird needles were found in beds and lannan. there was a time when we carried our navels and a tray down all.
-- our needles in a tray down bohol. the hall. there was a time when we did not wear gloves for surgery --. imagine that now. patients at that time said the peasants would be scared to death and the peasants are now scared if you don't have gloves. imagine the things we take for granted every day and health care. i work at allegheny general hospital in pittsburgh and i am active in my union. my hospital does the right thing. we have a self -- we have a health and safety committee. we want to find that things in the workplace to fix the man that is what life safety is and having the union and power and having an employer like mine who is committed to having a say a hospital is very important safer needles and wearing gloves and those precautions have saved
lives. >> david, we have heard mention of the standards and they seem obvious in retrospect. there were challenge is getting them done and challenges that osha faces when it tries to protect workers health and safety. >> when we announce we're moving toward a new standard, there always some employers who say that change will cost too much money or is not necessary. when we moved toward blood borne pathogen standards to protect health-care workers, the dentists thought we were requiring that you could not give teeth back to little kids. they did not want to marry -- where masked as it would scare the kids off.
we create a new normal. the best example is the vinyl chloride -- vinyl chloride scandal. it caught is a very powerful carcinogen. the interstate said the change would cost over 1 million jobs. -- the industry said the change would cost over 1 million jobs. they finally said they could save money and it did not cause a single job and made the industry more competitive. these are closed system so we create a new normal but getting there is a great struggle. >> what lessons do you take from that as you move forward? >> we need the support of the public and we need to make people look at the evidence and not just listen to rhetoric. the studies show clearly that
these save lives and don't cost the money that everybody says they will. >> you mentioned that we have a ways to go. maybe you could talk a little about the challenges that we still face of worker health and safety. >> first of all, with organized labor, i have a contract book that gives me extra rights above and beyond the osha regulations. what i see with my years of teaching and going out into the general public either at a community college or with a new employer is that many of the workers don't have a voice. they don't know what their rights are. teh 11c laws and others are kind of week. we don't have enough education for the workers out there to know what their rights are and
how to utilize their rights without the fear of being disciplined or being discharged. we need to give those workers the strength and let them be a voice and give them some type of structure. they can be part of the safety committee and part of the process to improve the workplace. that's what we need. >> cathy, what are some of the challenges in your work place that still remain and things that need to be done? >> ergonomics was alluded to. health care worker injuries from lifting patients is significant. working collectively in that arena would definitely be important. airborne precautions the two halves crocker said truce. --- need to have stronger changes.
people will be working out in the community and i think the major focus on workplace violence and people get mad when people are sick. we have not -- we have a completely educated public. his importance. observing patient rights in figuring out what to do when working with our unions together on specifics are important things i would look forward to having regulations on. >> in your introduction, you mentioned you are working on a workplace injury and illness standards. how much a standard like that help a situation? >> osha has a standard for every hazard. there is a huge range of different potential hazards in the workplace. our standards are like the minimum wage. we say you have to do certain things because they will prevent injuries.
most responsible employers understand that to really protect workers, you go beyond the standards and change the culture of the workplace so safety is important and you look at the hazards and address them. there are many, many employers to do that now but there are many that don't. this standard will bring all employers to a higher level where they assess their hazards and come up with a plan. we think that will make a huge difference and take us well beyond where the standards have gone and reduce fatalities and injuries and illnesses. >> i think we are ready to open up to the audience. any questions from the audience? mqazaki f the m tonyazake tony
vigive w workers a chance. they were trying to develop a ap life onps so workers on construction sites could report violations ride away in an easy way. they say the biggest problem in terms of putting these powerful tools in workers' hands was that every state had different regulations and it was tough. what kind of tools with the changing internet is osha looking at to put more power into workers' hands? >> we are certainly looking at exactly that. we think there is a lot of potential for people to college but some those photographs and information with this -- specific gps like this. -- a linkage. there are 21 states that have
programs that cover private sector workers that do what osha does. the state has the right to have their own program or let the federal government do about the regulations are basically the same peri. there is no reason why construction workers could not use that same app to communicate with the local ownership. we will work on that, too. >> question here? >> i was looking back at the historical research and that the time the triangle, workplace deaths were estimated to be at 100 per day. that is terrible. looking forward, your budget has been cut by 18% for the rest of the year. what will that do to enforcement
to the new program you are talking about? >> our budget has not been cut at all. in the budget agreement reached two weeks ago, there was an across-the-board cut, 2%, we will spend zero 0.2% less than last year but we did not have a budget cut. in their wisdom, the house and senate and president all recognize that osha should not be cut and it wasn't. it is worth recognizing that 100 years ago, things are really worth that much worse. this is the 100 anniversary of the american society of safety engineers which came out of the triangle incident. and the national fire protection society which started the idea of sprinklers. there has been great progress made and we celebrate that but we look to the future to see how we can further protect workers.
>> other questions? right here. >> i am with bloomberg government. we were completing a study in one of the reviews -- we reviewed the 15 states that havei2p2 programs in space that we noticed a dramatic spike in inspections following enactment. does osha have any plans to change their inspections in light of the implementation? >> we certainly have not seen that. we are looking at the enforcement issues in association with new standards and we will be open to discuss those and get comments. we are a few years of completion -- we are a few tears away from completion of this rule.
i think we will have a robust public discussion how to enforce this law and how it will work. >> right here? >> you know me and i just have my union advocate question. tell me what difference you think your role as a full-time company-wide has made in the health and welfare of goodyear employees? >> that is a good question. over the years, we have had a lot of tragedies in the factories. it has come to light that without workers' involvement, getting within the safe and healthy program and more
expertise on the floor, that improves the workplace to reduce the strain and find out what the true cause of an accident is. that is what is important is to get the workers involved to approve that. the position i have currently is to network between other factories for lessons learned so we can share that and hope to reduce injuries. >> i would be interested in your perspective, cathy. >> with over 1 million health care workers in my union, we don't just advocate for ourselves. we advocate for our patients. i biden says i am an advocate for quality. the highest quality of care is what everyone deserves. they should not have an infection when they leave the hospital. they should come in and have the surgery and the treatment they
need and lead. in that time, all the people to touch them from the people who scrub the floors or wash the walls should be as safe. having the voice on the job is so important. i could stand up for you because i know what to say. so do other health-care workers. the more than 1 million the don't have the route -- union are not as fortunate. you need to have a say in the identify and be safe and not have to send a picture but walk up to the hospital and say to work together and they do. that feels good. >> how does that interaction work between the union and management? >> it is easy and comfortable. i say my mannesmann but i think i speak for managements around the country. bey don't want people to heard on the job. the one patients to leave and be healthy. if there is no one out there
holding feet to the fire are regulations are not calling the question or being educated -- we have health and safety training. that is money well invested. people live because we do that. they are safe and they leave hospitals without infections. that is the difference, working together with management to have training, regulations that say you must have training on very important issues, we practice ergonomics and our hospital. we have safe lift systems that every hospital should have. i think no new unit should be built without a safe way to move people. back injuries take -- i have three years of experience but it takes experienced health-care workers away from patients in need them. it is not ok. >> other questions? >> i am with the teamsters.
do you think that the ergonomic standard will be resurrected anytime soon? i have ups workers and we are doing a database of their injuries and illnesses. 99% of them are ergonomic with sprains and strains. >> osha has no plans to reintroduce the ergonomic standards but we still remain concerned about ergonomics. we are taking a number of approaches from issuing guidelines for safe work practices including safe lifting but also we are using our enforcement ability. part of the osha law is the statement of every employer is required to provide a workplace free of serious have resorts.
hazards. >> other questions? one back here, ok. >> i am with farmworker justice in washington, a d., d.c. farmworkers have the second or third most dangerous job in the united states but they are excluded from most of the osha standards. can we hope for any progress on moving that exclusion of farm workers from some of these safety standards that osha has? >> i think we can. for many years, osha has focused more on urban workers and workers and in manufacturing construction service. that is something we recognize
and are trying to addressed. . ondon't issue regulations pesticides because that is something only the environmental protection agency can do. we have reached out to them to try to find ways to ensure that farm workers get the pri -- protection that they deserve. >> that will be our last question. thank you so much, cathy and mike. we will transition to our second panel. [applause] i am just going to go ahead and introduce our new panelists and we will go on to q &a.
these are very accomplished people so there bios will be abbreviated. they're full ones are on our website. peg seminario is director of occupational safety and health at the afl-cio and has worked extensively on regulatory and legislative initiatives at the federal and state level and coordinated the labor movement campaign on worker right to know, ergonomics, and other kitschy of safety issues. she has also served of numerous federal agencies and scientific advisory committees and is the architect and the organizer of worker's memorial day observed annually on april 28 to remember workers killed, injured, and abused on the job. justice van houten is at johnson and johnson. his responsibilities include global leadership of occupational safety, industrial
hygiene, toxicology, ergonomics, and fleet safety programs. his background includes over 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and health-care products industry, initially as a research scientist and now as environmental health and safety later. david weill is professor of economics and he goes to labor relations, occupational safety and health, and transparency policy. he is the author of three books and he previously worked as an advisor to the u.s. department labor. his wage and hour division and osha and the number of other offices. peg, let's start with you. the afl-cio works closely with osha and often pushes ocean to do more. can you talk about the
relationship that unions like yours have with the agency? >> we have a long history with this agency and with this law. it was the unions who fought for and got the osha law passed back in 1970. since that time, we have been both a friend to the agency had many times and at other times, we were pushing the agency. when you look at the standards the agency has said over the years like blood borne pathogens, virtually all of those k because the union's petition to win some had to go to court. then we followed up in defending those rules. our history as one of pushing, pushing, pushing for stronger worker protection and fortunately, over the many decades, there have been, for
the majority of times, heads of the agency that were very committed to safety and health going back to mort corn under gerald ford. we have had a good relationship. it has always been one of trying to push the agency to do its job because there are many forces against them. we had a couple of times during boeotia 40 year history when we have not had a great relationship. during the recent bush administration, they did not want to work with unions. the head of osha was not allowed to come and talk with the unions about safety and health. we work closely with them that our role primarily is to hold the agency's feet to the fire to remind them what their job is and that is to protect workers. >> joe, similar question -- how
does johnson and johnson approached worker safety and how do you interact with osha? >> johnson and johnson has a longstanding commitment to health and safety that is probably as old as the company. we are celebrating our 125th anniversary this year. the values we have as an organization are collected in a document call "our credo." this was put together by the chairman of the company in 1943. he had the title of brigadier- general. the work that he did for the country world war ii as how he got that. when we look at that, it details our responsibility to the people we serve. there are customers first, employees, our communities, and their shareholders. it is specific to safety, the general working conditions are clean, orderly, and safe.
while osha has had eight general duty for 40 years, johnson and johnson has had the generals to do because for the past 68 years and that's what drives us for help and safety. let me talk about how we operationalize that approach which identifies and controls all health and safety risks. that involves management, employee engagement, and together, we come up with a system that yields an extraordinary results. when dr. michaels talks about injury and illness prevention programs, this is something we think is spot on in terms of the direction for standards as well as osha and we support them. we know it works at johnson and johnson. >> david weil, osha is often attacked for imposing unnecessary regulatory burdens on business.
how do you view these attacks and how would you describe the cost and benefits of what osha does? >> in public economics, we talk about the benefits and cost of any intervention. the statistics have already been stated that i think they have to be restated. it was mentioned at the beginning that the fatalities in 1970 were about 14,000 and this past year was only 4300. entry rates dropped in a similar 3.6 this year. this implies huge benefits to private sector organizations like johnson and johnson in terms of productivity and having lots preserved and the benefits that confers to businesses, but there is also a huge public
benefit that goes beyond that. that is related to the preservation of life and safety and the benefits to the individuals and their families and communities from that kind of huge reduction in a loss of life and in injuries. there is enormous benefits that we have to think about every time we reduce injury levels and fatality rates. there is a lot of evidence out there that can show a lot of that goes to osha. they have been responsible for a lot of that reduction. on the benefits side, i thought cathy made an important point in describing the change in how workplaces operate now verses 40 years ago and even 20 years ago. the protocols and expectations have been transformed by the
presence of osha even where it has not directly invested. on the benefit side, there is enormous evidence that we have gained a lot. because the value is the subject that comes up as hyperbole. the evidence has shown that the cost anticipated even those that osha has estimated in advance of issuing standards are usually much smaller ones the standards are put in place. that's because businesses are creative that once they are required to do something, to do that in a cost-effective way. the vinyl chloride story that was described is one story. the cotton dust standard at the time of is -- it was issued would destroy the american textile industry. in fact, by reducing exposure to dust, it increased the
productivity and quality of american textile mills in the 1980's and 1990's because of that. my sense of the evidence is that the benefits we receive from osha are much larger than had anticipated and the costs are much smaller than anticipated. >> we have talked a lot about the osha standards. osha has other ways that it promotes worker health and safety. maybe you can talk a little about what some of those things are. >> we have a variety of strategies and tools that we use. they are tailored to the situation. there are many small employers out there who don't have the resources to know exactly how to protect the workers. we have a big emphasis on helping them. we have a confrontation program
that is independent of osha where we encourage employers to get a free consultation. we have a cooperative programs with a whole range of employers who are committed to going beyond industry standards. that insures the workers are truly protected. there are companies across them month -- country and our voluntary participation program. the workers then become special government employees and they go out and help other employers address the problems as well. we have a website with tremendous information and that mostly workers and small employers that gets 180 million visitors per year. we are open to new ideas. we welcome different ideas because our objective is to have the workplace change before
someone is hurt. >> to follow on the that,joe, you experience this with osha and compliance assistance. how does that work? what is the interaction like? >> we have had a long history of collaborating with osha. we are mindful of the fact that osha is a regulatory agency and has enforcement responsibilities, we have always looked to build a strong relationship with osha because we feel as though we have a common mission. one of the best examples of where we work well with osha is when we sent our corporate safety director down to ocean in 1989 to become the head of osha. he spent tens years atj &j as our corporate safety director. other notable collaboration's but still very valuable or when we worked at the of n folks atyosh to end plastic drugs.
we helped put the guidelines together. in 2003, we actually entered into a former -- formal partnership on osha on ergonomics. we knew we had something we did share with osha and want to help them understand some of the best processes we had ed johnson and johnson. we impact of a number of areas. i remember specifically the united postal service facility in rochester, new york where we had our people go in and help them to solve some of the ergonomic problems. we have had a very strong and good history of collaboration with osha and it works. >> the work that osha is doing, they're also doing work on distracted driving. many of the fatalities are workers.
we want people to follow the example of johnson and johnson which is banning texting while driving. >> peg, unions are part of working with osha and business. maybe you can talk about how to work in various partnerships to promote safety. >> unions bargain with employers. that is all old role of the union, to work with employers at the worksite. that is the primary focus of unions in addressing safety. as we heard from kathy and mike, osha has been helpful to regulations, partnerships between employers, osha, the unions. the steelworkers have had these
partnerships, as have autoworkers. there are things going on in held that art not directly things that osha is involved in, but the fact that it is -- it comes from the fact that there are regulations on the book. the emphasis and the impetus to address these problems. there is a lot of work that goes on with the agency, but what we have to remember, osha is a tiny agency. 40 years after the law was passed, it has 2300 people on staff nationally. it is smaller today than it was in 1980. there were more inspectors and in 1980, that was its high point. we do our report every year of
looking at osha inspections, and it this year we look at the data and see that osha is responsible for once everyone under 29 years. -- once every 129 years. a lot of it is driven by it osha, but does not directly involved osha on and off and on basis. >> you have written about how we evaluate osha's performance. how do we know we're getting what we want? >> i did build on what -- think it build on what peg just saying. very unlikely it will show up in any given workplace. what the effects of osha all the
money art are the impacts on spillovers, the changing culture and decision making people have about health and safety. its challenge is that has to affect the whole range of employers. you have employers like johnson & johnson that are on the cutting edge, developing new approaches for safety well before standards evolved. equally, osha has to think about other ends of the employer spectrum, people dead set against adopting basic health and safety practices. all the money, you are trying to gauge how -- ultimately, you are trying to gauge how osha tries to engage in change things, bringing up the end that is not resistance to -- that is not resistant to change and bring
that end up with progress of businesses -- progressive businesses. that is the way to think about performance. >> there is another way to think about performance, and that is what was talked about earlier by david michaels. it is not just bringing up the laggards. it is setting the bar for where employers that need to be. when you look at osha, where it has made a huge difference is through its standards, setting the new norms of performance. with health care, the pathogens standard, that particular hazard, the risk of hepatitis b and hiv -- but until that time, there was not a lot of regulation of health care. what kim was not only a standard, there can -- what came was not only a standard, but and attention to capacity that was not there.
because of that one standard, it brought safety and health to the focus of the industry, which had not happened before. we look at what has happened in many cases, it was a particular standard. in textiles, it was cotton dust, but they did not just deal with cotton dust. they dealt with other standards. one of the challenges we face now that you mention is that the regulatory process is so ossify, so difficult to issue rules -- osha has not issued -- the last major standard was in 2010, which had begun in 2003. we've not had the setting of standards or new norms for a long time. one of the things we have seen and are quite concerned about is that we have these new norms with some much competitive pressure on employers, they are not putting the same focus necessarily on the safety and health frequently at the
corporate level. we are concerned that the fact that there is enough drivers is really ending up in reduced activity and attention and resources being paid to safety and health. i don't think that is the case with j & j, but i i'm wondering what you're seeing with other employers. >> no, it is a great point. the interest in terms of overall sustainability -- at johnson & johnson we have created a set of the sustainability goals for 2015, and health and safety are part of those goals. one of the ideas i have for david going forward is that companies like johnson & johnson are concerned about environment, health, and safety in our supply chain. we will have the opportunity to influence what goes on with tens of thousands of small businesses that supply products and services to johnson &
johnson. is complement to regulation is that large companies -- have an companies a nice complementary business at large companies have been influen -- have an interest in that process. >> this issue of ossification in the rulemaking process -- it would have been your experience as osha administrator -- >> very ossified. we are soon to issue a standard -- >> proposal. >> proposal, on the regulatory agenda at the beginning of the bush administration brought 10 years to get to a proposal, and once we get to the proposal, there will be numerous opportunity for public comment. our silicon standard is 40 years old and requires using the equipment that is no longer available. and measuring approaches which
are no longer and. -- no longer done. of the 500 standards for chemical exposure, 470 are based on a list that was put together, voluntary industry list for 1968, unchanged since then. it will take five or 10 years to change any standard, and we can only do a handful of the time. it is a real problem, and we're looking for ways to address that short of legislation, the only way we can speed it up tremendously. that is what area we were about. we also -- also -- even whe -- we also think about -- even when we have standards, we often don't see compliance. we have a very strong standards to protect workers from suffocation in grain facilities.
filled with, say, corn, and it is caked and it they are given a shovel to break it up. you can be trapped and suffocated. last year, the highest number of grain entrapments in 30 years since purdue university started keeping track of the spirit tragedy after tragedy brought two teenagers -- since perdue university started keeping track of these. tragedy after tragedy. two teenagers, not given training or a safety harness, went in there to break up the corn, and they perished holding onto each other. after that, we sent a letter to every grant facility in the country, saying that these are hazards, this is what the
rule is. my letter was taped on the wall. standards were raised for some employers, and some employers just don't get it. >> one of the things that is important to recognize is to celebrate 40 years of osha -- the law is a 40 years old. the environmental at al-arabiya has been updated -- the environmental palace debut has been updated. but this law has never been updated -- the environmental law has been updated, but this law has never been updated. that was law radical, people set in 1970, but is actually pretty weak. the criminal penalties under osha are limited to cases where
there is a willful violation the results on the the death of a worker, and that is it. we look at what the record is, and in 40 years of osha, we have had only 84 prosecutions under the occupational safety and health at, for deaths of workers. in that time, we have had hundreds of thousands of workers died. last year, epa had over 300 prosecutions, convictions, under its law. humid more prosecutions, more convictions, in one year under epa and and -- under epa than in osha's entire history. >> david, just getting back to
what david michaels was saying about the standard-setting process, one of the problems often cited is the way the cost- benefit analysis is done afourfr osha rules. how is the cost benefit analysis done? what are some of the assumptions that are billed in -- built in to a cost-benefit analysis? >> you want me to put everyone to sleep? [laughter] the idea is, the ideas behind cost-benefit analysis making a lot of sense brought you want to improve social welfare and make sure that any benefits outweigh the costs. the problem is, the standard- setting process has become incredibly politicized. even the evaluation of what our appropriate benefits and costs become the subject of an fodder
for -- subject of great conflict and fodder for the battle in the first place. there is more and more agreement on what proper benefit-cost analysis looks like. the administration has cass sunstein, one of the foremost thinkers on benefit-cost analysis. when the problems is separating out the right ways to calculate benefit-cost from the politics of it, and that is where you get a possible addition of the standard-setting process. -- that is where the ossification of the standard- setting process comes in. there is always this tangent -- tension about changing the law and standards at versus how much we can do with the existing standards we have in place. i think one of the promising
things in the last two years has been a real emphasis on looking at existing enforcement and outreach kinds of capabilities and resources that osha has not to say you don't want to legislation or issue any standards, but i think often, the enforcement that we have is not pushed as far as we can to improve conditions given what we have. i think there's been a hard look at penalty policies, focusing on enforcement and the nature of our reach, that is very different in the last two years. >> david, you are starting to do more on enforcement. what are some of those things? what is the appropriate panel to when there is a violation? >> penalties are set by congress, and a maximum penalty for a serious violation is $7,000.
we find those are not strong incentives. we reduce penalties for small employers, but we cannot change the penalty structure in a major way. but we can change the way we do enforcement. one of the things we're doing -- if in particular types of hazards that seriously endangering life at the facility, we will look at other facilities owned by the same corporation that do the same sort of work. we are working with other agencies because we know that bad actors in what area are bad actors in other areas. we are also trying to publicize our investigations more broadly,
essentially putting employers on notice that it could be in the newspaper. attorneys who represent employers have said that osha is getting very aggressive with press releases. clients call them up and say, "how do i not get the press releases?" we are trying different approaches, trying to get creative. when you are out and you see a mountain lion, you try to look bigger, and that is what we're trying to do. [laughter] >> we are ready to take questions from the audience. john? >> i will use my prerogative -- john podesta. i would like to follow up on the david's class commons, and maybe -- david's last comments, and
maybe peg, you can comment on at this as well, that the procurement system might be at a way to encourage good behavior by setting standards about what federal contractors ought to be doing in this regard, penalizing people who do not live up to those standards. >> i certainly think so. we are looking at. i get -- we are looking at that. it is very similar to this supply chain issue that joe raised. recently there was a factory which produced materials for the department of defense which had a major explosion, at fatalities, and we're working with them and asking questions, should the company be able to produce materials for the federal government? >> i think that is an excellent
approach, and what we have advocated for some time -- one we have advocated for some time. movement in that direction is not quite as robust as what you propose in the clinton administration. new folks came in and wipe out the requirements. prior to osha, we at the service contract act which basically said that as the federal government contractor, you had to follow these standards, and those standards are many of the initial standards adopted in 1971 and that we still live with today. but unfortunately, that whole area has not really look at or strongly enforced. but i think it is an excellent idea. we have got to look at whatever we can to leverage the change that needs to happen, and there needs to be bigger levers to bring about the kinds of change that we need in the federal government, and the federal government has been lovers it
can use. -- has big levers it can use. >> back here? >> when there is a problem that cannot be solved immediately, how often does this concern become a part of the contract? what is the responsibility, then, of the union, management and osha to make sure this is corrected in the future and that the contract is full tilt? -- is fulfilled? >> unions, as i said, have tried to address these problems over the years. i think the basic approach of unions in safety and health has been to bargain over the basic structure, the basic rights of having a committee, having a representative, having the training that is needed so that you can actually address the
problem. a number of unions go beyond that and look at specific problems. the steelworkers union negotiated language over particular hazards. the same thing in the autoworkers union. try to stay on that, and use the contract to enforce that as well. one of the things we have to think about, though, is that the law is 40 years old. it came into effect back in 1970. a whole generation of folks sort of grew up with this law of the safety and health. i am one of them, david -- i mean, all of us here. same thing in terms of the workforce. a new generation of the folks coming in, and they sort of take for granted that this law was always there. we have a lot to do here to bring along folks and also educate people and get them involved in these issues so that we have not only an educated
work force, but we have a new generation of advocates and leaders in the field. that is one of the biggest challenges we face in the union movement, government, among employers today in the field. >> right over here? parsons.m jim another industry-specific question for you -- construction. i was wondering, since this a look back at osha posture first 40 years, maybe you can look at how the -- construction the -- first 40 years, maybe you can look at the construction environment. >> i think a construction has
been a very important area for us to look at. it has a hired fatality rate than virtually any other industry that we regulate. we have a number of standards -- certainly, the silicon standards for construction, very significant. one thing we have that done recently that we are very proud of -- the number 1 source of the fatality in construction is falls. you understand the role of gravity in these fatalities. workers are high up, and if they are not protected, they are at risk of falling. much of the nation was riveted a month or two ago by workers who are on a scaffold collapsed -- that collapsed, and they were
arrested by heroic firefighters who came up to the roof --. res -- rescued by heroic firefighters who came up to the roof. up until recently, we did not require that sort of fall protection. the residential construction industry was exempted from those rules. we were sued in federal court, and we were victorious, and in a few months, there was a requirement for all workers in construction who were at a height where it they had to -- where they could be heard at wheree protection for -- they could be hurt had to have protection. >> there have been a lot of efforts in construction to
address safety, and with a lot of contractual language between management and unions setting up extensive training programs. it is basically built into the training of workers. you have funds set up dedicated to come out of collectively bargained language that go into training that ensure that workers are getting the proper safety and health training as they come into the industry. that is not something that was mandated by osha. it was bargained between the unionized industry and the construction union. i think has made a huge, huge difference in addressing safety on the job and changing conditions. one other thing that osha has done, to give you a great credit for your leadership and secretary solis, the higher group of immigrants and non- english-speaking workers make a
high portion of the work force, and the fatality rates among those workers are much higher than those of other workers. osha has got a terrific job -- secretary solis -- in getting to that segment of workers. >> construction is a heterogeneous industry. we're talking about driving safety at all the way down to the contractors, subcontractors, just doing a wonderful job, and there are many who don't. there are construction jobs may times to hire immigration workers, pay less than minimum wage, and essentially provide very little or inadequate protection. we are focused on those workers and those employers, to essentially all the range of things osha can do, going after more enforcement, assistance programs on the web, but also
organization's average immigrant workers who don't speak english -- organizations that reach in order workers who don't speak english. don't go up on that roof without full production. if you do, you are putting yourself at risk. we have made clear to employers that we will enforce our training requirements and you aren't required training and you have to do that in selling -- and if you are required to do training, you have to do that in a language that workers understand. train those workers to work safely so that they know how to work to commit. "well, that they didn't speak english." >> one of the areas we talked about was the issue of
sustainability. up to this point, many people think of sustainability and being jobs -- as being jobs, etc. one of the opportunities is to talk about jobs being green jobs and save the jobs. installing solar panels on residential dwellings, that is something we will look. we want to bring health and safety and environmental aspects together, so that when we're talking about sustainability, we're talking about both. >> construction is an industry we all think and care a lot about. i would add one thing that goes back to what david was saying, that the problem construction always has is the problem of coordination. you have a 15, 20 different employers, and that has always been a challenge for osha. looking at a future challenge beyond construction, we have more and more industries that have construction-type
organization now, where it is not one employer, but multiple employers. the boundary of who was responsible for activities at the worksite is becoming very blurred. one of the things we have to think hard about and learned from the construction example is how to coordinate to make sure we have that for health and safety on more and more work places that look like construction. >> another big part of that is that this is an organization of work to implement. we have a lot of workers classified as being independent contractors, a self-employed. they are not protected by osha. when you look at fatality statistics collected every year, increasing numbers of those statistics come from the death of self-employed workers, not only in construction, but other sectors.
once they are self-employed, osha doesn't talk to them. -- doesn't touch them. >> we have time for one more question. in the back? >> i would like to talk about osha and workforce development. with so many unemployed and transitioning, and a lot of nonprofits to god workforce development -- a lot of nonprofits take on workforce development -- we are trying to train groups, but a lot of them don't do osha training. could we have advance notification to make it part of our protocol? >> that is an interesting proposal. we could certainly think about. we have a program where we give organizations to train workers
across the board in every sort of sector -- we have a lot of applications from different groups. we are interested in reaching non-traditional groups through. we provide training for groups who don't have much background with organizations to do training. we like to think about new ways to reach out to workers either currently working or not working and training to make sure that they know about taking health and know what to do. thank you for that suggestion. >> thank you. this was a great discussion. please join me in thanking our panelists, david michaels -- [applause] that's it.
will be joined by general james cartwright at pentagon. live coverage at 3:00 p.m. on c- span. join us when book tv house a live webcast with author shirin ebadi. is the founder of the center for defense of human rights, and she won the nobel peace prize in 2003. that will be at 5:00 p.m. eastern on booktv.org. >> tonight on at c-span, a look at the news industry. you will hear from a panel of journalists as they discussed news and commentary and what happens when they converge. >> most smart people i know are not listening to nancy pelosi for their world view, nor to john boehner. most smart people i know don't talk about continuing resolutions to fund the
government. maybe it is different in the room -- >> not in my house. [laughter] >> no, absolutely, and we forget that. don't you -- people you know, probably conservative about some things did you what taxes to be low, but if a couple of gay guys want to be married, what you care? why is it in the media we still have to be read timor blue team -- red team or blue team. >> what this event tonight at 8:00 on the c-span. on c-span2, a forum on education reform with the rev. al sharpton. they will talk about academic disparities between children of different races and districts are around the country, as well as how they think student achievement can improve. >> we used to hear debates about
affirmative action, and people would say, why do we need a program? because we have a program to exclude people. we need a program to counter the program you have. do not act like it was just some osmosis that excluded people. it was intentional, and you must intentionally correct what was wrong. >> watch this event from the aspen institute tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on a c-span2. >> the c-span networks. we provide coverage of politics, public affairs, nonfiction books, and american history. it is available on television, radio, online, and the social media sites, and find our content any time on line at the c-span video library pratt and we take our -- and time on line on the c-span video library. created by cable, provided as a public-service.
>a discussion now on the afghanistan war strategy, troop costs, counterinsurgency operations, peace negotiations. speakers include thomas pickering, a former undersecretary of state, along with a co-founder of the afghanistan it study group. the group offered to a report last year calling for the obama administration to change its strategy on afghanistan. this is an hour and half. >> morning. thank you all for joining us. i am at steve clemons of the new america foundation and i block note.he washington
there are lots of blogs running this concurrently this morning and afternoon. we will discuss u.s. policy on the afghanistan war. we have a very dynamic session with the voices and people that captured not only, i think, the political spectrum, but also the thematic a spectrum of people who have been thinking hard about these issues. i think every one of the people and panelists today is -- the panel, subsequent panel, is somebody who has put themselves out on what i call the constant peer-review process. someone who is objecting themselves to both -- subject himself to both of the applause and critique of many people trying to think about this question of what is the appropriate role of the united states and afghanistan, what is our responsibility, where should we go? we have this morning of every
recession. the afghanistan war -- we have this morning of every great session. "the afghanistan war -- a cost benefit review of america's strategic and economic position." my friend thomas pickering, and ambassador to some nations out there. -- to so many nations out there. he was undersecretary of state he was recently co-chair of a task force on afghanistan at. this book is available to all of you. pick it up outside. i hope you will read it now is one of the most important contributions right now out in the field beginning to look at what are the next steps, what are america's options today, where is afghanistan, what is the responsible way forward? one of the really interesting parts of this is that the international task force -- nine at 9-american members - -- nine
non-american members. paul pillar is director of graduate studies, center for peace and security studies at georgetown university. he was a member of the afghanistan study group, of which i was a co-founder, and one of the leading lights out there. just to his right is richard vague, co-chair of the directors counsel at the new america foundation/american strategy program. he is smiling to how pragmatic, semi--- he is my link to how pragmatic, semi-conservative business people think about the world. james clad, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for south and south the -- south and southeast asian
affairs. i think we are doing something with -- i have another friend who was in office -- james and others are people who think about how do you stabilize economies and look at war-torn conflict regions and try to move them right, and how does u.s. policy essentially want or not get things right so much? james has committed himself to a book on this subject, so i look forward to hearing about the combination of policy and outcome. joshua foust is a member of the american security project, a very provocative and informed and smart blogger and editor, and the author of a paper called "post-soviet national interests in afghanistan," a brilliant paper part of the task force effort. it is available online.
his blog and his writings are essentially must reads for anyone thinking about the area. and then we have elise labott, a producer at cnn. if you up and looking at the tsunami and the middle east, she has been in the middle east pratt also a great friend. thank you for putting -- if you have been looking at the tsunami and middle east, she has been in the middle of this. also a great friend. thank you for putting cnn on hold. [applause] >> thank you, and thank you all for being here. i think we should all be ok. i would just speaker willie out, because -- i will speak really loud, because i -- ok, here we
go. even though we have such a change going on in the middle east, we don't take our eye off the ball in afghanistan as we work towards the beginning of the drawdown. clearly there is going to be a renewed focus, but i think is important to start these discussions now. as we see the debate taking place in washington about the budget right now, i think that we thought that even though there are $40 billion in budget cuts, the money for afghanistan was not cut at all, even though the very well written report by the afghanistan said the group suggests that our interests are not really vitally at stake in afghanistan. we have what many would consider to failing strategy. we have an excellent panel, and we'll start with ambassador pickering. [unintelligible] yes, please.
>> thank you, elise, and thank you, steve, for the opportunity to be here with this distinguished audience. i want to say this in the sense of greatest kindness to steve -- he has become the intellectual for most of policy debate. in that sense, we are grateful to steve for the many occasions he puts us together, either by electrons or in person bro. i want to talk to you about my sense of what our strategic objectives should be in afghanistan. and that i want to talk about the reports that steve so kind introduced and give you a sense of what we thought was the opening for political progress in afghanistan. not as an alternative to presidential strategy, but as a complement, filling an important
avoid. strategic interests in afghanistan fall into seven categories. one of the most important is that we are dealing with a region that is called af-pak when it truly should be called pak-af. the important strategic interests of the united states are in pakistan. afghanistan translates primarily into how it influences things with respect to a future of afghanistan. that is why a political process is required in the work out. at the second interest has to be -- but very its subsidiarily so -- the prevention of the return of al qaeda to get another refuge. as general petraeus said, less than 100 are present in afghanistan. why do we have 130,000 troops to deal with 100 al qaeda?
the third interest, a difficult one to define, but preeminent in what i would call the interior political consciousness of us all, that a great power cannot leave the country like afghanistan a great deal worse than it found it brought you have to think about this is a little bit, but it has having to do with the future of afghanistan, because the government, the negotiating process, and many other things we're doing. in that regard, it is of obvious interest to afghans in the region, and obviously of interest to the united states as a great power, a steady stream of what can be chalked up internationally it to us as failures, if not in our interest in afghanistan or beyond. let me again put those aside and say that we faced three simple questions in the study of whether a political process had utility with respect to afghanistan. i did not say millennial significance, said utility, and
i mean utility. the questions are, is a negotiation. possibility, and if so, when? the second question, what should we negotiate about? the third question, how should we get there? we felt we were close to, if not in, a military stalemate. we felt it was growing lack of interest in continued fighting. we found, in interviewing people over all the possibilities, including the taliban, there was a strong interest in a political process, strong interest in a political process soon, if not now, and a strong interest in each of the parties in creating a fortress of protecting their position of a strong interest by asking for infeasible, outrageous, and outlandish possibilities as a result of the negotiation. initial negotiating positions in fact regarded the interest and the question of moving ahead
with the negotiations. in many cases, we thought that the interest in negotiations was genuine, even if the expectations were well beyond the possibilities of fruition. the second thing we looked at was whether there is a center for the process of negotiation, and obviously, painful as a is, there is no alternative in a negotiation of this sort but future governance of afghanistan and all of its many facets. at the adequacy of the constitution, political points process, prime minister versus presidential system, the question of where authority rests in the hinterlands, and what way to balance that. we think there are a number of other very important questions that have to figure in the negotiation, including the role and place of islam. it is firmly entrenched in the present constitution. how to deal with human and civil
rights, their production, and in particular, the issue that is so important, women's rights. issues of justice and accountability. those kinds of questions come to the 4. how to get there is a much more difficult and taxing problem. we look at many alternatives. we came up with one alternative, not that it was the only one, but the one we felt made the most sense. we believe that a process to have credibility needs to be kicked off with an environment that is managed in a way that each side feels they are getting a fair shake in the process brought in that sense, we felt that a facilitator or facilitation mechanism, a person in the group with a stake in international organization, could play a role in a toothpaste process. one, sending out the parties with respect to the questions i just raised, what are their expectations with respect to negotiation, are they willing to enter into negotiation?
and secondly, we felt at that process should last a reasonable amount of time for assurance. that individual or mechanism should probably take place under the un umbrella, but not necessarily be directed and subservient to the united nations, but have the benefit of this of the umbrella. that would mean that you have to find somebody or some states that occupies a relatively neutral position to carry forward this phase brought the second phase of what we believe could be a useful political process would have to resolve itself around what we would like to call a standing international conference. the centerpiece of the negotiations, particularly at the beginning, we believe, should be located in the afghan parties, that they are the ones who need to determine the future governance and other issues with relation to their own country, perhaps accompanied by a mediator or facilitator to help move the work along. the afghan parties -- and we
believe there are four identifiable afghan parties in the largest possible cents, including the karzai government and the taliban, but also those who call themselves loyal opposition and are in fact the old northern alliance, plus or minus -- and society -- civil society groups, in our view a hedge against extremism on the most critical issues having to do with human beings in the future of afghanistan. we also believe that are around this central negotiation, we need to think about gathering the other important players -- principally the united states and pakistan, and perhaps a little further out, but no less important, iran, india, the 'stans who border -- turkistan, tajikistan -- china, russia, key
members of the eu, japan, saudi arabia. enough so that, in fact, that group and hopefully create some synergy and harmony in its ability to strengthen and support solutions in the afghan groups that are very important, obviously, as a way to move the process forward. if the process moves forward, and we have no confidence that it necessarily will, but it is worth a try -- as it moves forward, a second set issues has to be addressed by the outside groups, the non-afghan groups. can we support and, indeed, formally commit ourselves to the afghan solution? can we recognize whatever status afghans want? will we commit ourselves to the assistance, economic and security? will support a u.n. peacekeeping mandate that is initially, alleys, and perhaps for the long
period, a verification and monitoring question, it views about enforcement for much rest on creating an afghan force to be able to carry forward its own effort. i am off the podium. thank you, steve, very much. [applause] >> thank you, ambassador. paul? >> thank you, elise, and good morning. the one made observation i want to leave with you this morning is that i think the policy, and more importantly, the discourse about the policy in this town and beyond about afghanistan, has lost sight of the cost and benefit of what we're doing brought the ambassador in his remarks reviewed what are the u.s. interests in this part of the region.
unfortunately, we look at the counterinsurgency we are waiting in afghanistan, and often lose sight of those purposes and look at the counterinsurgency as an end in itself. that is how we americans look at things, that we get engaged in a fight and we want to win it and it becomes a goal in its own right. but we lost sight of why we evare july when there, of every justified, in my view, response to the 9/11 outrage. it had to do with rousting the taliban from power. since then, we've got 9.5 years, and we have had, to put it bluntly, a 9.5-year-long mission creep. the conflict in afghanistan has long been thought of as a struggle between the karzai government on the one hand and the taliban ally with international terrorists on the
other. in fact, it is a far more complex civil war with sectarian and dimensions, role dimensions. dimensions bid i am a counter terrorist guy, worked on that in the 1990's brought let me work on the counter terrorist detentions, since that is what this was supposed to be out at the outset. a u.s. military victory in afghanistan is not what is going to determine whether or not the american public is safe or not from international terrorism. the afghan taliban is not an international terrorist group. it is one of the most insular groups around. it is interested in the political and social order of afghanistan, it is interested in the united states only insofar as we interfere with their ambitions for ordering the politics and society of afghanistan. as was noted, and it is not just general petraeus recently, but
this the number we occurred repeatedly, no more than 100 al qaeda types and afghanistan. that has been the case for a long time now. so we have this problem or worry about the recreation of a safe haven. even given the opportunity to return to afghanistan, it is hard to see any advantage from the standpoint of been laid in -- of bin laden or zawahiri of recreating a haven in afghanistan, and even if they were interested, it is hard to imagine that taliban, which, after all, suffered its biggest setback ever in its response to our response to the al qaeda terrorist attack in 2001, that they would want them back. even despite those two considerations, al qaeda at tried to reestablish something like it had before 2001 in afghanistan, the gloves are off now.
unlike pre-2001, to put it bluntly, we bombed at the heck out of it, which is not something we were inclined to do with the rules of engagement were different prior to 9/11. even if al qaeda or some other terrorist group reestablished what they had prior to 2001, it is simply having a geographic haven i want a particular place, the afghanistan or anywhere else, simply is not the critical factor in determining what the danger is to american people. look at the 9/11 terrorist attack itself, where it was prepared, where people trained. for the most part, i would say for the overwhelming part of what went into that operation, the physical haven and afghanistan really had very little to do with that at all.
now, this is all by way of weighing what we are supposedly gaining on the counter-terrorism side, and what the costs are. rich is going to talk about monetary costs. we have the various other political costs. there is also the assumption, what i was there would still be true even if we made the assumption, that we have a counterinsurgency effort that is working, that is succeeding. there are lots of questions to be raised about that. the main one has to do with the nature of the karzai government, whether we have a local regime that is strong enough on which to lean. i would suggest that we don't. but also the trends and sentiment within afghanistan, what the numbers are, which, even from our own military command of what the trends are in taliban is ranked, and what
is they seem to add up to, it is by our very activity and presence there, we are stimulating more worker it into the taliban, not less -- mroe -- more recruitment into the taliban, not less. our presence also increases extremist propaganda, supports the extremist narrative that the americans and american military are out to occupy muslim lands, plunder their resources, kill their people. you have heard it all before. it is all nonsense, but some things we do intend to add credibility to that narrative, and unfortunately, what we're doing in afghanistan adds to that. i agree, we ought to be talking about pak-af rather than af-pak.
as a result of the 9.5-year- long mission creep, we are really afghanistan as it relates to pakistan. we ought to be concerned about the future and stability in pakistan. fighting counterinsurgency in afghanistan is not the way to go about. we have this other kind of the american way of thinking about instability and problems overseas -- it is like we have this green ooze that goes over borders called "instability." in important respects, it goes the other way around. insofar as we're doing things that are highly unpopular with the pakistani public, which is quite clear, as well as the afghan public, it makes it harder for the pakistani government to do things in cooperation with us on behalf of the counter terrorist bowl or anything else. closing thought -- again, it is a matter of cost and benefits
brought it don't take what i said as saying that terrorist safe havens don't matter at all. not what i said it. the question is, are what we're doing to ward off the haven in afghanistan, does that improve things from the counter terrorist point of view enough to justify all the other costs -- political, monetary, and otherwise? i will stop there. [applause] >> thanks, paul. there's been so much talk over the last several years of whether we're winning or losing and how we can make it right. there's just not been that kind of crisp discussion of a cost benefit analysis. i think that's the reason the work of the afghan study group is so important. james, do you want to take the floor? >> thank you. i want to confine myself to just a few thoughts.
i'd like to confine myself to a few thoughts of what was said earlier. i think ambassador pickering was to begin to see afghanistan in this regional environment, looking for ways in which we can find overlapping interests with countries that join it. the second thought i want to leave you is that very important factor of what india wants and what we want and how india figures into the equation. i remember when i had just left the pentagon i was brought in the very last day of this enormous exercise that was -- there seemed to be 500 colonels running around the national defense university putting something together for general petraeus. i said, this is interesting but where does india figure into any of this? they said, we're not. this is centcom. we are central command. that's an interesting concept.
this is a very important thing because in my own particular view, and i've been arguing this for some considerable period of time, the overlap between what the indians want long term and what we'd like to see long term in southwest asia i think is very high. it's not zero some, those of you that had the pleasure of dealing with the centcom and it seems to fall on one side or the ledger when it comes to india or pakistan. my argument is we should tilt more toward an indian view and not preserve the fiction that somehow we are going to square the circles with the pakistanis. my views, i'm old enough to see the last afghan war and wondering in afghanistan in the late 1980's and working with many pakistani friends is that it is absolutely implausible that they are going to be interested in working with us
in any sustained way. i think pakistan's in business to leverage outside situations, outside power to their advantage, vis-a-vis the exowe tension threat which doesn't come from afghanistan but within the officer corpts which is preeminent in this country comes from the east from the indians. i think the final thought, too, is a couple of observations i hope to buttress again what you heard earlier. it's the crisp clarity which paul presented to you. i wondered what this is about and i think the american people wonder what this is about. i think support for the war is paper thin. if got forbid any mass casualty event would occur i think it would be over no matter what the fine arguments staying on to 2014 or whatever the latest embellishments are i think we would be out. i think that would follow at that pattern of conduct by the united states in which at the end of the day we're there because we're there because
we're there. like the old yale university drinking song. the point of it exactly, we can't be leave now because we would be yielding to pressure. this is a strange way to conduct diplomacy. at a time when circumstances are, some question, and our resources really under a great question. i think the last thing is to try as americans, and this gets to some of paul's thinking about the way in which we approach things, is to realize that from the beginning, from 2001, we militarized our response and we declared war on a tactic and had a terrible thinking on dealing with the particularities. i can't say i've been to as many countries as pickering but i look at the scars. i was out there during a lot of this shooting, the iran-iraq
war and the period when the russians were in afghanistan. what occurs to me is we create the taliban. it's the phenomenal logical thing. there is the taliban and here are we. we give them their unit of purpose in some very important ways. i think if we were to realize that our response, the one thing that still hangs in the air as an acceptable, widely accepted american approach to the challenges of the last decade is that we fought a punitive war in afghanistan. and that was the reason everyone accepted it. and yet in our thinking here there was a disinclination until a very few years ago and i think ambassador pickering was at the forefront of this to think of how we're going to work afghanistan as a regional issue. how are we going to leverage the chinese? how do we leverage russian opinion? what are we going to do with the indians? the closing thought i'd like to leave with you is this -- immed i'm hard pressed to see the pack stancey particular at this
point inclined to believe that we are leading well ahead in any heavy footprint way well before the 2014 period that's now mentioned. and i think the idea that we can rely on pakistanis for anything is very implausible. what we got to do, in my own personal opinion, and maybe way too late for this is to work with the indians. it's not zur sum. we don't have -- it's not zero sum. we don't have to go with the indians on everything. involve the kind of powers that ambassador pickering was mentioning as a very important group of people to be included in the final negotiations. i think that it's not going to be very pretty. i think it's worth the candle, but to tell you the truth, when you listening to paul and listen to apple bass dorg pickering, some of the -- ambassador pickering, some of the decade-long adventure that we're having, i don't think it will take very much for an
emphatic development reveals the lack of support in this country for this ongoing war. [applause] >> thanks, james. that's a very provocative food for thought on india. i think we can expand on that in the q&a. richard, would you like to take the podium, please? >> thank you very much. and thanks, everyone, for their time this morning. the foundation of our national defense and frankly the foundation of our economic influence globally is our financial strength. in 2000 our national debt was $5 trillion and change. it is currently on a trajectory to exceed $15 trillion.
there was a royal battle over health care which is $95 billion a year. we almost shut the government down over about $40 billion of budget cuts, and yet we're spending $120 billion this year in afghanistan, a country whose g.d.p. is only about $16 billion. and when general petraeus late last year suggested that we would be in afghanistan for another nine or 10 years, which is tantamount to a trillion dollar recommendation, there was barely a headline. let me put our defense spending in a little bit of context. in the year 2000, the
department of defense budget was $294 billion. if you took that 2000 number and moved it forward in time at some time adjustment factor like g.d.p. growth or inflation or what have you, the budget this year, the department of defense, would be about $380 billion. it will actually be $710 billion. the run rate difference between those two numbers is $330 billion a year. in the year 2000 with that $294 billion number, we were spending about 3% of g.d.p. at that $700 billion it's over 4.5%. it's almost 5% roughly. most western democracies spend
more in the neighborhood of 1% or % of g.d.p. you can see the burden, the disproportionate burden, frankly, that the united states is carrying. 2% of g.d.p. is about $300 billion a year. let's put it in the context of historical wars in the u.s. the war on terror, iraq and afghanistan combined, is now the second most expensive war in u.s. history. and present valuing all of these expenditures to today's dollars. over $1.2 trillion. only exceeded by world war ii itself. and now in excess of the cost of the korean war and the vietnam war combined. let's put it in the context of global military expenditures,
what other countries spend. our $700 billion -- and these are hard numbers to pick and as we research this we get slightly different numbers from different sources. but our $700 billion is about 60% of all the military expenditures of all countries combined in the world. the rest of the world combined, britain, france, china, russia only spend about $400 billion or so. and in fact if you only looked at all the supposed adversaries, however you might define that, the number looks to be under $150 billion annually by the rest of the world. people we would categorize as adversaries, versus our $700 billion. so my final thought is that i don't think that it's in our best interest given that
financial strength is the bedrock of our defense to be spending 4% to 5% of g.d.p. on defense. i think 3% to 4% is enough. [applause] >> thanks, richard, for those sobering statistics. josh, why don't you round us out and then we'll open it up to some q&a? >> ok. so i think everyone in this room can agree that the war in afghanistan is for lack of a better term a mularkey of tragic courses. and this is a phrase i'm using pretty deliberately to a lot of the nonsense talk of people say what's going on in the conflict, how we're going to get out of it, what our options are and so forth and it's been very refreshing here on this panel to hear a great deal of
sober, clear thinking about what's happening and what our probable ways forward are. but if we really want to put another bird on this war we have to dig into the political question. and this was the heart of the century foundation task force report. and i think it was the heart of ambassador pickering's comments earlier. it's the topic that we tend to avoid the most. ultimately politics are hard. politics in afghanistan are even harder and actually politics in pakistan are even harder still. i fully agree with everyone here when they say that the war in afghanistan -- it's not really about afghanistan. it's ultimately about pakistan. but when it comes to discussing what's actually to do about pakistan we fall apart. we tend to rely on cliches, postering, empty threats and frankly i don't have any solutions to this. i'm just highlighting a problem. i'm not an expert in pakistan. but ultimately when we look at things like how to negotiate with the insurgency or how to establish some kind of regional
political order we're making the mistake that the only problem naysing us in the area is the insurgency or is al qaeda. but both of these groups are only single actors in a much larger complex network of political interests, organizations and actors. both inside afghanistan and inside pakistan. when we look at, say, the four major parties to the war that ambassador pickering mentioned earlier, just looking at one group like the former northern alliance block represents easily a dozen separate groups which will likely kill each other the moment we leave. and start providing a security override. that has nothing to do with the insurgency. a huge part of the instability in afghanistan is nothing to do with the taliban. it has to do with opium. that's not al qaeda. even though there are some connections. they are ultimately different interests and afternoon different things. these are considerations that need to be taken into account when we think about what we need to do about the war. ultimately, if we can somehow put an end to all of the
violence in afghanistan that will not solve the fundamental political problems that are plaguing our strategy in the area, it will not address the major issues that we have to deal with as it comes to creating some kind of regional solution which has to do with kabul and has to do with islamabad and washington and brussels and london and beijing, for lack of a better regional partner. in the midst of creating this kind of regional political framework we have to keep in mind that ultimately this is about politics inside afghanistan and politics inside pakistan and neither country wants the world for dictating terms to them, doesn't want the world to be dictating morals, social issues, certain policies, any of that. and so while all of our good ideas, our genuinely good ideas, and there are things that make sense and have precedence and history, ultimately if afghans and pakistanis do not buy into the politics of what we're doing, they're not going to work.
any kind of negotiating frame work, any kind of regional alliance that will try to contain terrorism will not work if afghans themselves don't buy into it. and unfortunately what afghans want and what pakistanis want is the one thing that we don't know because we don't have a lot of insight into how their countries work. we don't have a good presence outside of the capitals of those cities. we don't have good relationships with the civil society groups in those countries to say nothing of normal people who aren't educated and don't speak english. so i'm kind of leaving this open as an oh, crap, what do we do thing, but when we're thinking about the political issues in here we need to understand that these are political issues. when we think about budgeting priorities in the united states and think about the acura moany that brings out of -- acramony that brings out of this stuff and think of how the world would dictate to us a fundamental political issue like whether you were going to obey the taliban or the karzai government, we have to understand that these are
life-threatening issues for these people and they won't back down just because a bunch of foreigners told them to. on that happy note i think i'll end my comments and see what comes of it. [applause] >> thank you to our panelists. i think we have a lot more questions than answers as people brought up these topics that we don't really talk about too much when we talk about the war in afghanistan. i'm going to ask a few questions and then we'll open it up to the audience. we have about 45 minutes so we should be able to get a lot of your questions in. let's start by talking about cost and whether cost should really matter in afghanistan.
we spent $119 billion in fiscal year 2011. as we said in afghanistan which has a g.d.p., as richard pointed out, of only $16 billion, if u.s. national interests are at stake, richard, we do see that some conservatives say in libya, for instance, if u.s. interests are really at stake, costs should be insignificant. but that you also give a very impassioned reason why, you know, the u.s. is undermining its economic base in afghanistan. so let's start by talking about whether costs really matter when critical u.s. interests are at stake and, ambassador pickering, if you could talk about other ways that the u.s. could pursue its objectives with afghanistan, maybe perhaps not spending so much money on the military objectives. richard, do you want to start? >> yeah. one things i would say, as others have pointed out, we don't believe that this to the
extent of $120 billion in our vital national interest. we simply don't. but if you took the situation in afghanistan where you have tribes or ethnic groups or whatever who are going to be in chaos and there's going to be a war, there's more countries than afghanistan that that's the case. if it's our job to make countries right, which i don't think it is, i think it is $120 billion not just in afghanistan but in other places and you run out of money fast. >> ambassador. >> i'd like to begin with the notion that all wars end with political implications. at your peril you refuse to shape them. i'd like also to note that in all cost questions you have the benefit calculus that has to be put in. if it is an exowe extension problem -- exotential problem,
then the costs diminish and obvious from is of the highest. i don't think any of us at the table has portrayed the cost benefit ratio of anything like that. i think that in the end, as a number of the speakers, i think, said, the pressure to leave in this country is going to overwhelm the commitment to stay. that if we don't begin to move in all of the areas that are available to us in an early stage we will heighten the interest in the public in abandoning the exercise. and i think that these are important strategic determinants of what we do. i suggested there needs to be a political process. i'm not a counterinsurgency guru. i have dealt in el salvador with the problem firsthand for two painful years. i know we can make progress, and my view is that progress will enhance our capacity to
deal within the political sphere. i also think that none of this is predictable, and a lot of it remains very uncertain. if we don't know where we're going, no exit strategy will get us there. or alternativively, if we have an exit strategy and we don't know where we're going, we are creating chaos. where somewhere in the middle of that awful nexus, that mess. and somewhere is a useful proposition to inform where the process is going. i was quite astonished that a very long review of afghanistan strategy is a solid look at what u.s. objectives ought to be. and based itself on what i think was historical can't and historical can't doesn't work in a sense of clear thinking. we do need a political
dimension to the strategy that that's hanging out there and that's a long answer to a really critical question you asked. what -- >> what do you think, paul? other ways the u.s. could be pursuing its objectives? >> we have a tendency in this country to say something is, you know, an important u.s. national interest and then slide in a very ill logical way from that say -- illlogical way from that saying it is pertinent to that interest. i think my colleagues covered it already sufficiently well. the question is not, is this topic area important to us? of course it's important to us, for the reason that ambassador pickering laid out in his opening remarks. the question is is a particular policy or enterprise or effort or counterinsurgency or whatever it is we're doing, does that increase ored a advance our interests more than
the cost that it entails? that is the question ought to be phrased. unfortunately, that's not the way that americans often phrase it. >> let's branch out a little bit beyond afghanistan and pakistan. james, why don't we talk about how china, turkey, india, saudi arabia, iran, the broad neighborhood view of our engagement and commitments in afghanistan, if we pick up and leave, if we deem, you know, time to get out, won't these -- won't the region see kind of change in power leaving, how would this hurt u.s. prestige and trust in the u.s.? you know, it sounds a little bit we might be damned if we stay and damned if we leave. >> i think your question follows very much with what's been discussed. one of the things about this very, very long review that characterized 2009 was not only that it was terribly long. by the way, we acted as if the australians and british didn't
really have much to say about it. they were in a sense passive bystanders while their people were dying out there as well. is that -- it took the view that it was all about us and some ways played to the continuing habit of this city to be profoundly so preferential. it became a different group of generals about which might be the right approach leaving such important things as -- it becomes more important when you're on a downward slide. i'm not saying we're doomed to be relevant and cow tied to the chinese in 20 years but we are not at our best at the moment. state graph becomes more important. so what should have been at the very beginning, which was right. we are going to have our punitive war and now let's see what we can leave behind rather than bringing in a baggage train of earmarks attached to
every one and have an n.g.o. out in kabul and, again, unilaterally decide to revise our strategy five or six times, is to find out what the overlapping national interests are and there are very, very considerable ones out there. if we deny ourselves that particular approach, if we say to -- and god rest his soul -- the late dick holbrooke, there are some countries that we have to deal with or see how we're working it out here within the city and no one can go out there and speak with presidential authority to the chinese and to the russians, well, then we're denying ourselves the chance to say, look, we are going to be out of there sometime. it's probably going to be sooner rather than later, and do you want the preferred default option of pack stance to be the thing that you have to live with? and that has a very bracing effect on each country's response to the post-american or at least overt and large american footprint period in
afghanistan. so it's not as if it's either or. it's one of the thing that was astounding. we could have a unilateral rampant, president obama's version of the surge in afghanistan. it needed to be accompanied by a parallel approach which is multilateral and say, we're going in there to hammer these people to be able to get to a point where, as ambassador pickering is making very clear, we can speak with authority. but we're on a losing streak, and right now everyone in the region expects us to leave and well before 2014. >> ambassador, your century foundation analysis has so many international members, china, russian, japan, turkey, that looked at the scenario facing the u.s. and the taliban, talk a little bit about america's prestige in terms of staying and in terms of leaving. where are we better off now? >> my own view is that we're better off if we can do it.
leaving in a way that at least establishes some stability. perhaps some openness and indeed some safety in afghanistan. it is not in my view possible to achieve even this me lenial objective if we're -- mellenial objective if we're not prepared to work the neighborhood hard and the afghan parties very hard. i think that we have an opening to do this. i think in the broader context those of us who remember vietnam know that every one of the same arguments was deploy, that we engage in the long, very difficult negotiating process. i think we underestimated vietnamese nationalism and overestimated communist control.
to some extent we should underestimate afghans at the present time. those kinds of questions are not now harnessed in our effort in an adequate way. i think a political process could help to engage those in a more constructive way than we have now. i think the notion, which i think is purial, which was prevalent in the iraqi venture which was all we had to do was win a combat victory on the ground and the movie would stop and we would walk off hand in hand into the sunset into some bright, glorious future that it would all take care of itself is so discredited now that i think we have to worry about that and hopefully that particular memory will be seared into our consciousness,
although i have to say it is now being tore turd terrifically by lib -- tortured terrifically by libya where we have best intentions and at this time no clear exit. >> let me follow-up on that. when we talk about our decisions of libya, how do we know that the taliban, who we believe -- and you said to be ready to negotiate -- aren't going to kill, harass and constrain these vital freedoms of their people that are so vital to american -- to american values? and given our actions in libya, what is our scommitment, what should it be -- commitment, what should it be to the human rights to the people in afghanistan? >> well, it's a terribly difficult question. we have two strains in foreign policy life that go back to the foundation of the republic. the struggle for safety,
security, confidence, growth. and the struggle is well for defining a political parameter to life which enables that through freedom and liberty and the protection of the rule of law and all the things we hold dear. they are in every sense of the word now opposing policy choices for us in a lot of places like libya and the middle east. we have, of course, followed the usual policy. when the see saw begins to move from one area to the area, particularly in the direction of freedom and liberty and democracy, we try to move with it if not >> use of force is probably justified in my view to prevent genocide. we are now engaged in libya. the moment we engaged in libya, the measure of our success became the disappearance of mr.
gaddafi. we are stuck with that. to some extent, we now face the problem of, could we get enough arab support for a credible alternative that in baltimore muscularity. we are not -- involved more muscularity. we are not going to achieve our goal by dividing the country or by an interminable civil war. today, british officers are going to benghazi. i would suspect there are american officers somewhere. the interesting question is, is this a situation treatable like the original offenses against the taliban in 2001. or will it involve more?
when you commit yourself to military force, tying your hands with respect to a series of political restraints is often a terrible way to meet your objectives. to some extent, when you cross the military force line, you cross what i think is the restraint line. otherwise, you are there for an interminable engagement. while i do not like it and was against the notion, i think homeopathic approaches to libya are not the answer to the current problem or to achieve the objectives that we seem to have committed ourselves to. >> we will be coming back tomorrow for the discussion of libya. paul, where in your cost /benefit analysis do the human rights of people fit into
afghanistan? when you came into afghanistan, the taliban -- when we came into afghanistan, the taliban was streaking women terribly. >> three basic points. i will recall what joshua said earlier with regard to the resistance of afghanistan of someone trying to impose their values with regard to the order of the place. what we westerners find objects know -- find objectionable with regard to the social order is part of a larger issue regarding the state of women. i do not want to denigrate atrocities or abuses with regard to the taliban. even if the taliban were to go away and we had someone else in charge of afghanistan, we would be witnessing a culture and a
role for women that most of us would find pretty findabhorrent. -- find pretty darn abhorrent. we have to pick our goals and pick our fights. when i was still in government during the first few months of the bush administration prior to 9/11, there was policy deliberation about what we do with regard to the afghanistan /caliban problem. it was seen the way -- with regard to the afghanistan /taliban problem. how do we persuade the taliban to cough up osama bin laden? we fail to get them to do it before 9/11. that was the right way to raise the issue. there was agitation about the human rights issue and how the
taliban was teaching women. our policy makers took their approach like, we cannot load too many things on our agenda. our top priority is doing something about the terrorist problem. youeff, why don't weigh in? how are we leaving the caliban in the country in terms of human rights given that people are not willing to turn back and the taliban will be emboldened if we'd negotiate with them? >> the taliban is not the only human rights abuses in the country. sexual abuse of children happens by government officials, not the taliban. slave labor happens by people aligned with the government. the most prevalent examples of abuse to women, subordinates,
house servants happens by people who are not fighting in the war. it happens by normal afghans, not the taliban. when we try to frame afghanistan in terms of human rights, it is missing the entire reason we are there in the first place. our disposition to al qaeda has little relationship to how afghanistan treats its minorities and women. as much as people do not like to admit that, it is a reality of the war we have to deal with. it would be silly to assume the taliban has no role to play in the future of afghanistan. one way or another, they are going to be there. either by renouncing the name, taliban, or by incorporating a new governmental process or switching political systems. there are a lot of issues with that.
there is an inappropriate way of reordering what happened. the way of -- the original bond group in 2002 was dictating to afghanistan. they have a say in how to shape their own future. it would have to include the taliban and these other issues. the argument about getting involved in the political process now is that you can start this discussion by the time some kind of turning point comes, whether it is 2014 or 10 years after general petraeus says it is. by getting involved now, we can influence that this position. we can have some kind of influence. i do not howl -- i do not know how much. >> this process of questioning with the notion that everybody was unanimous that we had to
throw women and children under the bus to get the wrong -- the right deal in afghanistan -- afghan parties have to be engaged. civil society has to be there. one hesitates to trust anecdotal evidence. the public is telling them that even when they have the guns that they cannot shut schools. they have to keep them open even for girls. this is a change. it is not millennial. there has to be some standards met in this process that we cannot abandon as the president goes ahead and large numbers of people in afghanistan, despite the war and the dislike of americans, are enjoying a slightly more secure and slightly better life today. the counterinsurgency is making some progress. it is not the answer.
it is an important method for building the right kind of balance. i hope we would all agree that it is not throwing water and other constituencies under the bus. it is trying to work all constituencies that makes the difference. we will open it up for questions and we ask you to keep your questions brief. >> the turkish government is considering to allow the taliban to open an office. how does the panel feel about this idea? thank you. >> the taliban has made it clear
that to participate in negotiations, they would like to have a safe haven. they have ulterior motives. to become recognized internationally and to reach out beyond the confines they have in pakistan and beyond kabul. there is no way you can get ahead in the process without ensuring that people involved in the negotiations are going to stay alive to participate in the negotiations. turkey feels it is important to appeal to the best instincts of the taliban by giving them this opportunity. i would have no objection if it can help lead to a negotiating process that can make some sense. if it is a back door to a recognition of the status of the taliban, it presents problems.
you can take a chance on this one and see whether it can in curvet process. -- encourage progress. turkey can always change its mind. >> gary thoma. voa news. is the u.s. slipping more toward a process of trying to turn security duties over to them? moment karzai win out -- does hamid karzai win out? will there be a parliamentary system that evolves with more authority? >> richard, do you want to take the question about vietnam and
the others can talk about the other part? >> i am not qualified to talk about the organization and the parallels. it looks that way. the excuse is being constructed to get us out. i hear on encouraging things about how that is going. >> since i raised that point, i am stuck. if it quacks like a duck, it is a duck. everything depends on afghanistan's future. the vietnamese, when they finally settled down and decided their own future, were pretty good at it. i am not sure afghanistan has the same parallel. it makes sense to do the same
thing to empower afghans to do the same thing with their future. >> it is important to understand as americans that we are enamored with the idea that a new constitution will make a big change. constitutions are not kept in the reference section. they are kept in the periodical section of the library. thomas was mentioning the idea that women go to school. of thehe 1970's, 2/30 medical facilities in kabul were for women. the debasement of culture and the introduction of weapons systems. there is still an historical memory. the old joke is that pakistan is
a state in search of a nation and afghanistan is the other way around. it is less a matter of a new way to do it. it would be seen as an imposition, saying to them that some of the size the ambassador mentioned are going to have to be let loose and have to play themselves out. i do not think a role in creating a constitution will make a difference. >> i would not use vietnam in a pejorative sense. if we have an exit ramp, it involves the afghans turning to run their own affairs. the only non-parallel aspect between afghanistan and north vietnam is that there is no north vietnam equivalent. there's not going to be a 1975 event.
with regard to the constitution, i would hesitate -- hesitate to use the word jettisoned. a more stable future afghanistan is going to have to be one that is more decentralized than what was put together 10 years ago. this is a country in which no one who does ever govern couple has ever govern the entire country in any kind of centralized way. >> i think the question of the constitution is getting at the question of afghan politics. we designed the government of afghanistan for hamid karzai to fail. he is responsible for every government official and every provincial governor. they were appointed by hamid karzai.
he did not have substantial political ties to the rest of the country. we created a situation with a strong central leader who is responsible for every political leader in the country and gave him money to leverage the power. we should not be surprised that this is not working. when we think about what to do about the constitution, there is a danger of revising the constitution. in the first 20 years of the united states as an independent country, we went through three. we should not be afraid of revisiting a bad thing that happened. isaf calls it afghanization. when they were doing this in the afghanization, it
was distorting -- destroying communities and displacing others. it is not in relation of what we care about, but what afghans care about. to bring it back to talking about afghan being driven by afghans, the words we are being used to describe what we want to do also have an effect. when we look at the question of constitutionality, we have to revisit this. the government cannot work at all. if we want to have a functioning government and have it led by afghans with afghans capable of running themselves, we have to change what is there. >> thank you. the gentleman right here and then in the back. >> burt wise with wise and associates. i worked on national security issues for half a century.
done shall refer to the policy -- the politics of afghanistan and pakistan being important. i would like to switch to the politics of america and how we can get them to do what we want. the majority in polls say they want out. in talking to senators and congressman, they are aware of that, but are afraid that the number of americans who want to win comes to 12. the more substantive reason i have been given to senators and congressmen who would agree with everything that has been said about the costs and benefits of how bad things are going is that ultimately, because of pakistan, there are concerns that if the taliban takes over,
that will help the radicalization of pakistan. paul mentions that what we are doing now makes it harder for pakistan to cooperate. could we do more in explaining that apart from cooperating with us, it is increasing the chances of radical winning in pakistan and taking over the nuclear weapons. >> richard, can we sell it better? >> the way you phrase it is correct. it is extraordinarily this heartening. even though 70% of the public is against afghanistan, nobody thinks about it. no one cares about it around here. the only way it comes up is in campaigns. the only way it comes up is someone saying, we are going to cut and run.
we are locked into something that is almost on autopilot at a cost of $120 billion per year. i just recently read "war in a time of peace." i guarantee that there is nobody i know that remembers that war. nobody knows any of those issues. the politicians in washington were obsessed with every nuance and every detail of that and what affect there would be on the -- what effect there would be on the public. i think the president can, this down without even telling anybody and nobody would notice in the country. he would not get any negative repercussions. he would not have to tell anybody. sometimes, i think we are too close to this problem. sometimes i think we need to back up 60,000 feet and looked at it. the president could save us $200
billion easily. would not have to be controversial. what is frightening about that is how much over the last couple hundred years has the ball to the presidency as opposed to the legislature. >> quickly, the other point deserves some attention. the idea that pakistanis have a nuclear arsenal -- nuclear arsenal and this could fall into the hands of radicals and we need to continue what we are doing. it is important to understand this is part of the pakistani diplomatic tool kit. they are precariously placed and if anything happens to change things, who knows what might happen? pakistan is a much stronger state and people give it credit for. no one can go into detail about the nuclear arsenal, but i find it not the trump card that
people who repeat it in the congress think it is. >> we have a history of the taliban ebbing and flowing in afghanistan. every time the taliban goes beyond the federally administered tribal areas, they are forced back. the isi is effective at pulling at the strings when the military does something it does not like. they are good at protecting their major cities. despite the bombings, you do not see the mass movement of people occupying areas that you saw in -- just to follow up on that, the danger of and islamic takeover of the pakistani nuclear system is overstated. >> it has not been stated.
we have no construction. -- no construction -- no conscription. >> we are going to go to a lightning round. i am going to ask you to keep your question short so we can have as many questions as possible. i will go to the man in the second to last role in the back. sir, did you have a question? we will go to this gentleman right here, this gentleman right here, and then in the back. >> i think the room is getting a little carried away in their belief in the collapse of american public support for the war in afghanistan. when people are asked about negotiating with the taliban, there is a divided response. in afghanistan among afghans,
when people are asked about negotiations, two in three would like to see negotiations in the afghan public. my question is, what would be an effective way to present to the american public the concept of a future negotiation? >> we will take two more. right here and then behind him. >> i am from the woodrow wilson center. it appears that the united states and afghanistan have started negotiations for some sort of long-term strategic relationship. i am wondering if that does not cut across the idea of international negotiations whose outcome at this point is on certain. i wonder if thomas will comment on that. >> sir, right here. >> a question about the
pipeline. no one talks about oil or gas. i am told that there is more natural gas above afghanistan that is worth all of the oil in iraq. could that have something to do with the decision or the intention to stay in afghanistan? >> paul, are we getting carried away? ambassador, you can take the long term strategic relationship. joshua, why don't you take the pipeline? >> we can take some lessons from the nixon administration and vietnam. there are all kinds of way to declare victory. make the point that this is part of how, through the sacrifices of our troops and one day eight, we have gotten ourselves in the position where we can -- up our
troops and a decade, we have gotten ourselves in a position where we can turn the country over. i think that is quite sellable. public relations and rhetorical tasks, we have done that in the past and i think any administration can do that. >> on selling negotiations, go read our report. it is a try. it may not be everybody's cup of tea. i think negotiations with afghanistan over the long term on a bilateral basis are useful to push the question of negotiations among afghan parties and within the region in the long term. the third negotiation can always be adjusted to accommodate -- the first negotiation can always be adjusted to accommodate the next negotiation.
we should have our interests state it. it cannot be based arrangements forever. we have to arrange for the future of afghanistan where more afghans will be coming together and will be divided and separate. >> what about the pipeline? >> it does not exist and it never will. this magical pipeline going through afghanistan has been the stocking -- stalking horse of the region. they have already built a pipeline going to china. there is no reason to take the risk of building anything going through afghanistan for the foreseeable future. it is madness. they can ship things across the caspian sea much more easily than they can do afghanistan. even unocal gave up on the idea
that -- gave up on the idea because it was so expensive. >> there were too many moving parts and too many things changing. >> what about the issue that there are a lot of natural resources in afghanistan? we have heard about the minerals being a source of revenue for the country. is that a pipe dream or is that something we should be spending resources to help develop on behalf of afghans? >> it is far away from everything and hard to get to the market. we know what the chinese have done with carper. -- have done with copper. the chinese are finding that local situations can be paid to
their advantage with money. after that, things get harder and they are running into the local difficulties. >> we have five minutes and we will take one more round. in the back right here and right over there. we will start with the gentleman in the back. our questions short, please. >> i was a longtime civil service employee at the state department and did several civil service to worse -- service tours. this was alluded to by the panel. i would like to ask the panel's use on the lack of governance. how can we leave afghanistan better than we found it? >> sir, right here in the front. >> sir, right here in the front.